Girl Gone Gluten-Free

by Alana Cowan

Nowadays, it seems like just about everyone is going gluten-free. From Kim Kardashian to the newly engaged Miley Cyrus, people around the country have embraced the gluten-free lifestyle and found success with removing wheat from their diets. While the gluten-free lifestyle was more or less reserved for those who have celiac disease, or an intolerance to wheat, many people who eliminate wheat from their diets often find that they have more energy and see changes in their body, both on the inside and out. Americans are embracing a movement eating foods that are untainted by wheat. Moreover, food companies everywhere are making it their mission to include gluten-free products into their brand. But, what may you ask is all the fuss about?

While a gluten-free diet may not be for everyone, over the past few months, I began a gluten-free diet by completely eliminating wheat from my diet. With a love of late-night snacking and the occasional Happy Hour pale ale, I knew that the challenge would be far more difficult than I’d bargained for.

Why did I do it?

One day I had an epiphany after a late night call with one of friends who himself had been gluten-free for two years (who by the way, he said he hasn’t caught so little as a cold since!). We came to the conclusion, that people with the O negative blood type, my blood type and one of the most common blood types on the planet, should avoid gluten-containing grains such as wheat and corn. This comes straight from Peter D’Adamo’s “Eat Right for Your Type,” where he asserts that because of evolution, individuals of the different blood type groups are predisposed to certain health-related conditions and have different nutritional needs. He says that O blood types specifically are historically either hunters or gatherers, so they flourish on meals consisting of meats, fish, fruits and vegetables – similar to the Paleolithic or “Paleo” diet.

I’ve always had a constant struggle with weight since I was a young child and constantly felt lethargic throughout the day, which was constantly affecting my new schedule as a young professional. Knowing that only the Atkins diet (a diet consisting of only protein and vegetables – go figure) aided positive weight loss results, I was up to giving the gluten-free lifestyle a try.

Here we go…

At first, when I started the gluten-free diet, I was so strict with my diet that I constantly found myself reading labels and was obsessed with stocking my fridge and pantry with all gluten-free products in order to risk any temptations. But, after a few weeks, I became completely accustomed to avoiding gluten, and I was so surprised by all the different substitutions for wheat I could find, including pasta, flour and, some really good beers such as Bard’s.

Now, having been gluten-free for roughly three months, I’ve never had more energy in my life- and I feel great! After work, I actually have the energy to go to the gym or run outside and I’ve even started to lose some weight here and there. While there have been the occasional, but purely accidental, slip ups, the diet has really changed my life. And, while I don’t believe the gluten-free diet is for everyone, I think everyone owes it to themselves to just give it a chance. Either way, you can’t lose!

Here are some tips for going gluten-free:

1. Being gluten-free needs to become part of your life, not something that you resist. Developing a regular set of eating habits will help you stay gluten-free

2. Tell your friends and family about your new gluten-free lifestyle and ask for their support.

3. Come up with a list of GF snacks for your kitchen’s pantry. This is a list of go-to snacks that you can rely on when you’re out and about doing errands. You can throw these snacks in your purse or briefcase.

4. Clean out your kitchen of all gluten! Looking around the kitchen and seeing mostly foods you can’t eat is the fastest way to feel deprived by your new lifestyle.

5. Pick your favorite three restaurants and look at the menus online. Figure out some gluten-free meals you can order and enjoy.

6. Rice and potato-based foods replace a lot of your everyday staples including bread and pasta.

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